India 1948 rarity sold for record £500,000


A rare multiple from India’s 1948 set of official stamps has been sold by Stanley Gibbons by private treaty for a record £500,000.

The marginal strip of four of the 10r purple-brown and lake with the ‘Service’ overprint (for official use) was purchased by an unnamed collector or investor from Australia.

Printed in photogravure by Courvoisier in Switzerland, the stamp was the top value in the First Anniversary of Independence set of four, all portraying Mahatma Gandhi. All four values are scarce with ‘Service’ overprints, and the 10r extremely rare.

Only two sheets of 50 were overprinted: one is in the Postal Museum in Delhi, and the other was supplied to the Governor-General’s Secretariat for use on its official mail.

Only 13 of those 50 issued stamps are authoritatively accounted for, including a block of four which is in the Royal Philatelic Collection. Apart from the marginal strip sold by Gibbons, the only examples in private hands are singles; the dealer says it sold a single for £160,000 last year, to a client in Uruguay.

Keith Heddle, Gibbons’ managing director of investments, said: ‘The market for high-quality Indian rarities has been strong for several years, supported by the desire of the wealthy Indian diaspora and savvy international clients to own historic assets.’ The stamp was issued in August 1948, seven months after the assassination of Gandhi and two months after the appointment of Chakravarti Rajagopalachari as the last Governor-General of India, and the only Indian national ever to hold the office.

Read the more of the latest news in in Stamp Magazine June 2017

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